The latest Tomb Raider with Alicia Vikander may not the best developed storyline or dialogue you’ll see this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some great ways to connect it with Christianity. In order not to spoil the movie, I want to focus on four takeaways without giving a summary first.
Differing responses to the evidence: Lara and Matthias were both skeptical about the legend behind the tomb they were researching, just as many people are skeptical about the “legends” behind Jesus Christ. The questions isn’t where you start, however. Some people are naturally skeptical; others are searchers; and yet others have some defining moment which changes them. This was Lara’s dad—he became a seeker after his wife died. His grief prompted him to start searching for answers, for proof of an afterlife. He became hopefully mystic—his need to believe there was more than just this life drove him to search and to hope and to believe. Others are just as driven but in the opposite direction; for various reasons, rather than being hopefully mystical, they are stubbornly skeptical. One hopes for something, the other hopes for nothing.
Regardless of where they started, however, each faced the same realities, the same evidence. For Lara’s Dad it was easiest because he wanted to believe. For Lara and Matthias it was harder to accept because they were skeptical. They weren’t hoping it was true. Lara, however, responded by accepting the evidence. She became a convert. Matthias continued to deny, no matter what he saw to be true, and it cost him his life. He didn’t respond appropriately to the truth.
When we come up against the evidence of Jesus, the situation is much the same for us. Some will find it easy to accept and receive the truth, because they have been hoping for it, longing for it. For them it truly is good news. For others, however, it is more of a thing they wrestle with than embrace. They are skeptical, hesitant, jaded…for any number of reasons. That’s okay, but the question remains, what will they do with the truth once they come face to face with it? Some will choose to humble themselves and accept it. Others will stubbornly deny it—for those, it will cost them their lives in the end. Because truth demands an appropriate response.
- Would you say you are a seeker or a skeptic, and have you always been such, or has something changed you?
- If you were to find evidence that Jesus was true, would you want to embrace it or would you wrestle with it, or deny it?
Don’t even touch it! There was a reason the tomb was sealed off and buried—something deadly was contained within it. Back to Matthias’ refusal to respond appropriately to the truth—even though he couldn’t deny what he’d seen, even though he knew it was deadly, he refused to respond with humility or wisdom. He thought he could take just a little of it back with him. He didn’t care if it caused genocide in the world; he wanted the rewards he was promised if he brought some of it back to the mainland and naively thought he would be immune to the dangers. But some things you cannot play around with.
This is why Jesus admonished his people to leave certain things alone. He knew somethings were too evil and too dangerous to be messed with or contained. This is why, when they invaded certain peoples, he told them to kill every living thing and/or take nothing for themselves. He knew the idolatry and paganism of other cultures would infect His people if they took any piece of it.
- Have you ever thought you could “just have a little piece” of something and be safe, and then found it was uncontainable or uncontrollable?
- What are things we just shouldn’t mess with in life?
- What are some of the things the Bible warns us to stay away from? Does that seem ridiculous to you or wise? (One example would be sex outside of marriage.)
Better to die than be a stumbling block: Turns out, the woman in the tomb was a carrier for a disease, but she herself was immune. The disease didn’t harm her, but it killed anyone she came in contact with. She could have responded by saying it wasn’t her problem. She could have demanded her right to live her life as she wanted to, but she didn’t. When she realized she was the reason people were suffering, she removed herself. Actually, she sacrificed herself.
She was an extreme example of what the Bible calls a stumbling block. She was no danger to herself, but she was causing problems (painful and immediate death) for others. It’s an extreme example, but it makes the point nicely. So often we do things, walk in certain freedoms, live a certain way, and it’s not a problem, for us. It doesn’t hurt our faith our lives, but it IS hurting others. Our culture tells us we have a right to do our thing, but God fiercely warns us in His Word not to be a stumbling block to others (see I Corinthians 8:9, and Romans 14:13, for starters). In fact, Jesus said that if we cause a child to sin (in other words, if we are a stumbling block to them), it would be better if we tied a millstone on our neck and drowned ourselves (Matthew 18:5-7)—that’s pretty harsh language. The entombed woman didn’t claim her rights, she agreed with Jesus that it would be better to die than to cause harm to others. We could learn something from this.
- Has anyone ever been a stumbling block in your life? What happened?
- Have you ever wanted to exercise a certain freedom that negatively impacted someone else and/or caused them to sin?
- Have you ever chosen to give up something in your life because it was harmful to someone else in some way?
- What do you think about Jesus’ words that it would be better to drown yourself than to cause a child to sin?
A story about sacrifice: Jesus said “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). There are an extraordinary amount of people doing just that in this movie, willingly risking and/or giving their lives for the good of others.
- How many examples of sacrifice can you think of in Tomb Raider? Which is your favorite and why?
- Would you be willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of the world? What do you think about the fact that Jesus sacrificed Himself for you?
 I am being vague here because I would rather you come up with your own examples rather than fixating on ones I may cite because this can be a rather inflammatory discussion. But, for those of you who aren’t quite tracking with what I’m saying, one easy example comes to my mind here: What I wear is no real stumbling block to myself. I don’t have a lust issue (for example) when I see myself in certain clothes. But just because it doesn’t affect me, doesn’t mean others around me can’t be drawn into the sin of lust by my choices. So I lay down my freedom to dress “my body” however I want so that I am not a stumbling block to my fellow man.